Lorca is our dog and she never barks. There are dogs up and down this street. Chihuahuas, packs of unneutered Pit bulls, a few mutts, some smaller dogs with white hair, and an enormous German Shepherd. There’s a poodle, too. The size of a shepherd, but hopelessly stupid looking. Curly black hair, his name is Winston.
If I walk up our apartment’s back steps and that dog is in the yard, it will bark at me. He sights me from two houses down. I want to throw a rock at Winston, but yeah, I know, that would be cruel, it’s just a dog. If it were up to Winston, that wouldn't be his yard, his life, he wouldn’t even have that name.
My downstairs neighbor, a guy, barks back at the dog, too. Which is a little weird, I thought, but only a little; he and I are of the same mind, that dog sucks. I look at Winston and say mean things in too many words. “That dog has a bad attitude” I say. “Winston, shut the fuck up, you are juvenile.” Then I pet Lorca, who never barks, and I say, “I’m sure glad you're a normal dog.” But she is not normal, that’s why we gave her the name of a dead poet from Andalusia; she’s strange, she doesn’t really play that often, tries to flee from us at speeds of up to 34mph if she’s off the leash, has really odd habits. But Lorca is silent and kind, and for this I love her.
Though I can take no credit. Lorca came to us that way, stoic. Winston barks and barks. “Winston, shut up, you are terrible,” I say. And then Winston’s owner, who I did not know was in her yard, says, “Winston, please,” and I cringed because I didn’t know she was there. She just has this dog, who sucks in public, and maybe he is very nice when they are alone, and my dog is splendid all the time, and I have done nothing to earn that. I love my dog.
One more dog. Roofdog lives on top of a church. I’m not sure what denomination of Christianity, maybe Catholic, but their enthusiasm makes me think otherwise. But the roof of this building, where Roofdog lives, is flat, black, and probably only comfortable for the last two weeks of September and the first two of October.
Brianna and I were driving through rural Wisconsin on Friday, and a conservative man on the AM radio was talking about how American liberals love to condemn Christians for crimes real, imagined, and ancient, but they will never say a mean word about a Muslim, even after a man of such and such Islamic background is in the news. He was reporting from Berkeley, CA. You know Berkeley, where the acid is still in the water and old punks and older hippies and expensive colleges live? Anyway, the usual is said. Scandalous statements on both sides. We listen to the radio and I reach the immature conclusion, as usual, that religious fervor of all kind is bad business for the general populace. Probably I’m wrong and I don’t care exactly your opinion this, really, I’m just showing you the timeline of my thought process. Radio, politics, religion, injustice, Roofdog.
Roofdog, who howls at everything below him, which I hate, but who I instantly forgive because, really, what else can he do? His owner locks him on a roof all day, and his life is hell.
Roofdog, you live in a city on a hill and we can all see you barking at us. I bet you are hungry and thirsty and in need of love.
Who is so cruel that they keep you exposed to the elements all day, no tree to hide under, etc?
It is known that the kingdom of heaven is not for dogs, and yet your owner rubs your face in this. Cruel. Sometimes I’ll think, I’ll write a letter or call animal control on those jags who lock their dog out on days hot and rainy. Then I think, how about you volunteer for something useful to your fellow Chicagoan instead, you lazy ass? Or maybe even write in your journal instead of reading your Twitterfeed and the headlines. Pay the blessed electric bill instead of drawing on it.
And that is my letter for today, which is Sunday.